One of the most important skills for any college student is a commitment to study. This is often harder than it sounds, with the most intelligent and prodigious of high-grade students sometimes failing to get top marks when leaving higher education. The increased use of online tuition focuses those difficulties further – as the New York Times highlights, digital learning is often less effective than in-person learning. This is the challenge of modern learning – the tools provided to students are a basis for effective learning, but really need to be mastered to help steer students in the right direction.
Mastering word processors
Note taking is an important part of the learning process, helping to bed in information with active learning while also providing the base for revision and bedding in. The University of Southern Maine outlines just how crucial proper note taking is, with that initial focus promoted by note taking a powerful indicator of later learning. With digital technology at the forefront both in lecture halls and online, it’s important for students to master their word processor, often Microsoft Word or LibreOffice, to improve the quality of their notes. Knowing basic commands, such as how to change language in Word Online or perform a thesaurus lookup, will help to really get the learning from note taking bedded in. Students should also value autosave, to ensure that they don’t lose their hard-earned work, and know how to copy in and manipulate images – whether that’s of important course graphics, or hand-written notes captured and brought online.
Planning, planning, planning
College is relatively schedule-free outside of lectures, seminars, and lab work. As such, the onus falls heavily on the student to ensure that they don’t fall behind in studying and to set their own schedule. This is one of the key principles of Harvard students, according to their website, and something to take onboard. As always, there are tools for this – but they must be used constructively. Starting with a study calendar is a good idea – and any such calendar will do, Google, Microsoft or otherwise. Going further, and using systems such as Trello to automate and finely tune study schedules, is even better.
Understanding how you learn
There are countless personality type quizzes out there, such as the Myers-Briggs and Enneagram, that can serve an important purpose to studying. While these tests are very much subjective and shouldn’t be relied on as gospel, they are also helpful in showing certain aspects of the personality off – and informing learning based on that. Finding out what makes you tick can help in developing self-teaching methods, and enhance learning that bit more.
Learning about yourself means you will master your own method. Paired with digital learning, students will know exactly how to get the most out of themselves, when to push their learning, and when to stop. Getting the most out of college is weighted hugely against such learning – making it essential to take those steps to finding out how one best learns.